Kathmandu: The Investment Board of Nepal (IBN) has unveiled on 14 March the Power Development Agreement (PDA) of one of the national pride projects of the country — Upper Karnali hydro power project– in the capital on Monday.
The document has been made public at the directive of the National Information Commission (NIC) which the Board has kept in dark citing it to be the paper of trade issue and thus confidential.
Hydro power expert Ratan Bhandari had submitted an information request to the IBN to access a certified copy of PDA of the 900 mega watt hydel Project on November 3, 2014 but to no avail.
He then appealed to the NIC for positive intervention on the same, claiming it to be the affair of public concern. The NIC, which is mandated to protect and promote citizen’s right to information of the matters of public concerns, instructed the Board to make public the PDA on September 2, 2015 stating that it was a matter of public concern. Bhandari, however, received the document on Monday only.
Bhandari argues that some of the provisions of the project costing NRS 140 billion were against the national interests of the country.
The government of Nepal had to compensate damages caused by the man-made obstructions or natural disasters to the Project and ban on the sit-in protest and local people’s protest regarding the project among others would be detrimental to the country, he further argued.
However, the provisions that the project is to provide 12 per cent free electricity and 27 per cent free equity to the government of Nepal are positive.
The PDA on the same was signed between the Board and Indian Multinational Infrastructure Company Gandhi Mallikarjuna Rao (GMR) on September 19, 2014.
Although the PDA has a provision to conduct feasibility study of the Project’s impact from environmental and irrigational aspects within six months, these initial process of the Project has not yet proceeded an inch.
The Project, located in Surkhet, Accham and Dailekh districts, is one of the largest hydel projects in the country with so far the biggest foreign investment. RSS